Last Thursday was our homage to the traditional aperitif... french cocktail hour. To celebrate this oh so fantastical hour of drinking, socializing and munching on teeny tiny bites of food, we threw a little soiree for some of our friends.
Remember the post a while back about the french cocktail hour? Well, my 'order' came in the mail a couple weeks ago and to my surprise, the bottles were HUGE! Mama didn't know that the JP Chenet wine bottles were going to be bigger than my four year old; we actually had wine left over which is quite the accomplishment given our circle. We also served Kronenbourg beer and had available, Noilly Prat and Benedictine, although we didn't get that far; probably for the best.
To complete the 'party circle', I made a lovely cheese tray and some other light bites. I actually did pretty darn good on the food... usually I make way too much; this time around I think it was about perfect.
Stinky french cheese? Check.
Other appies? Check.
Friends of all character? Check!
For the appies, I wouldn't have dared serve anything that wasn't at least slightly french at a french cocktail hour so I set about on my snacky menu. I ended up with some stinky french cheese, the oh so rich and buttery triple cream brie and a double cream brie topped with pickled figs. To round out the tray I added dates, figs, rosemary almonds, grapes and of course, crackers.
To round out the cheese tray, I marinated some prawns in a mixture of dried herbes de provence and a bit of dill. I drizzled some olive oil over the whole thing and then let it marinate for about two hours. Just before tossing them in the pan, I squeezed the juice of a whole lemon on top. You don't want to put the lemon on too soon, otherwise the acid will 'cook' the prawns. To cook, I put them in a pan, juices and all and let cook on low with the lid on. In essence, they were steamed to perfection. They were delicious!
I also made a little mushroom pate bite... remember the mushroom pate recipe? Same delicious recipe, different presentation. I made a batch of my quiche crust but instead of putting it in a giant quiche pan, I used my mini muffin tin to make teeny tiny mushroom pate cups. The 'cup' making was slightly labor intensive but sooo worth it! And you can make it ahead of time which was my plan, before I got side tracked by the enticing glow of a Stella and Dot party the night before... ha! All pre planning was out the window!
We throw a lot of parties, big and small. Honey is always appreciative of the effort I put forth but he was especially taken with this party. He must have said how much fun the party was and how well it went about eight times after our guests left. He was right, it was fun. Luckily, I was prepared enough, in my sooooo non-prepared state that I was able to be a guest at the party rather than a stressed out hostess. I pulled it together!